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Chris Hennes

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About Chris Hennes

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    Director of Operations

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    Norman, Oklahoma

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  1. Meh, yeast quantities are always sketchy, and are basically a trade off with rise time. I freeze my yeast, use the quantities specified (with no increase), and just let it rise as long as it needs.
  2. Walnut Bread (KM p. 98) This is a minor variation on their Country Style bread, with ingredient ratios tweaked a bit and walnuts added. I particularly liked the very large quantity of toasted bran (scaled at nearly 9%) which gives this bread a ton of flavor. This is an excellent variation, even if you are only so-so on walnuts.
  3. Chocolate Brioche (KM p. 160) This is a mid-fat-range brioche, clocking in at about 38%, not counting the chocolate chips. Since it calls for a Dutch-processed cocoa powder I used Hershey's Special Dark, which is easily available, and for the chips I used the Guittard 64% baking chips (IMO the best general-purpose chocolate chips out there). Other than the chocolate it's basically a straightforward brioche. The taste was good, but I might try it with the (non-Dutch-processed) Valrhona cocoa powder next time, which is what I normally bake with. That said, it did get rave reviews at work today.
  4. Oreo Bread They don’t really have a recipe for this specific bread, but I made it by following their instructions for Cinnamon Raisin bread, and their recipe for Oreo filling. I decided against frosting the entire thing, but I’m not sure that was really the right call. The filling doesn’t really read as Oreos without the frosting component. Still, it looks and tastes pretty good.
  5. On a completely unrelated note RE: maintaining a levain... The Modernist team is pretty adamant about maintaining a regular daily feeding schedule, and they include a host of options for how to keep your levain alive for a few extra days if you have to deviate, etc. Things like adding salt to slow down its activity, etc. I'd like to call "shenanigans" on the whole notion that a levain is as fragile as they suggest. I'm sure from a commercial baking perspective the absolute reliability and consistency of their method is great, but for a home baker it's total overkill. First, I've adapted my normal feeding schedule to a once-per week, refrigerated levain schedule. I only feed on Friday evenings (I typically only bake on the weekends). I simply took a perfectly healthy levain constructed and maintained exactly per the MB instructions and tossed it in the refrigerator. No special modifications. I take it out Friday morning, and in the evening I divide it into a baking portion and a maintenance portion, feed each, and put the maintenance portion back into the fridge. Second, I discovered this summer that if I fail to feed for, say, the entire month of May (I was out of town), I can just feed it as normal when I get back and it works fine. I actually fed it on a Thursday and left it at room temp before feeding again on Friday in anticipation of difficulties. But no difficulties arose. It just "woke up" and was ready to bake on Saturday, and probably would have been ready to go Friday. It probably needed a little extra rising time, and probably tasted a bit different, but for a home baker this is sort of a non-issue. So, at that point it was June. And like 100°F outside. So I just put it in the fridge and ignored it until September. A few weeks ago in the fridge it definitely looked bad: "hooch" on top, smelled not so great, etc. I stirred it up, fed it as usual (25g levain, 100g flour, 100g water) and left it overnight at room temp. At which point is was a happy, healthy levain ready for baking. I frankly don't know what it would actually take to kill it at this point. The bread is still delicious, and now that it's back on its normal weekly feeding schedule it behaves exactly as it used to. Obviously this is all entirely anecdotal, and would require a great deal of time to analyze properly, but in my experience you can be pretty cruel to those poor yeast and lactobacilli and they bounce back just fine.
  6. Has anyone else tried making the Oreo-filled bread they show on page 2•422? The filling is easy enough, but their photo (which looks great) shows a frosting on the outside of the bread covered with crumbled Oreos. Do you suppose they actually frosted the entire loaf? I'm using the recipe for the Cinnamon Raisin bread as the base, but swapping the fillings.
  7. Well, my pot looked pretty spectacular after heating up a lye solution for pretzels. I don’t know why your brewery wash is a last resort, I think it’s a good option, but if you have lye around from other projects it will do the trick.
  8. After years of roasting with the heat gun method, I saw that FreshRoast has a newer model out (the SR 540), and it looked like it would suit my needs perfectly. I gave it a first run this morning: I've always roasted 115g per week, so the size is exactly what I needed. So far I am very impressed by how quiet it is. It's got a variable fan speed and variable heat level, plus a pretty worthless timer. It also fits under my vent hood so now I can roast inside the house .
  9. I was staying at a hotel in the Bay Area a couple of days ago and didn’t feel like fighting traffic (again) when dinner time arrived, so I gave DoorDash a try. From a consumer’s perspective the experience is good (setting aside the question of whether our driver sampled any of the food!). The apps are a nice way to see a quick look at the menus for a lot of local places all in one place, with a good user interface and up to date price information. If mobility were easier in the area I might have used the app to find a restaurant to eat in at instead. Probably not quite what the app developers had in mind.
  10. Creamy Cottage Cheese Waffles with Peach-Honey Pour (p. 42) These are a very simple waffle, differing from a standard buttermilk affair only in replacing the liquid with a 50/50 mix of milk and cottage cheese, and sweetening very slightly with honey. She suggests serving these with a "peach-honey pour", a peach puree with lemon juice and honey added to taste. Since peaches are currently in season here in Oklahoma and basically every stand at this weekend's farmer's market had them the timing seemed auspicious. The pour was indeed delicious (of course) and took full advantage of the waffles' geometry. The waffles themselves are soft and mild, lending themselves to this sort of topping. The picture below is a lie, I added far more of the peach puree after taking the shot.
  11. Michigan Grids (p. 54) These are a dense waffle made with a significant proportion of oats, with milk and cottage cheese as the liquid. Flavor-wise they are quite complex, spiced with black pepper, cinnamon, vanilla, almond, and orange, and studded with dried cherries. Overall they were quite successful, and definitely needed no topping. The recipe says it makes four waffles, but I got only three out of my Belgian-style waffle iron, significantly fewer than most of the other recipes in the book.
  12. I'm looking forward to hearing what they figure out! I'll have to schedule another trip .
  13. Inspired by @blue_dolphin, I made the buckwheat waffles for dinner tonight. These aren't a crispy waffle, so the walnuts are an important textural component (in fact, I'd probably add more). I'm not sure it's really necessary to make a compound butter with orange marmalade, I think you could easily just serve these with butter and marmalade separately. I also found the almond extract a bit incongruous - I'd probably omit it next time.
  14. Thanks of course to @gfron1 for having us in for dinner and putting up with our incessant stream of questions, and to @Alex for arranging the whole thing in the first place! Here we all are in front of the famous wild persimmon drip wall:
  15. And so we come to the finale: the menu says "cherry, yogurt, almond":
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